I’ve knit my fair share of socks over the last 10 years. I started knitting them on DPN. It was fine. I wasn’t the most prolific knitter anyway, so I’m not sure if my meh attitude towards the sock was the knitter or the tools. Then one day I was sitting in an airport (I traveled a LOT for work), and a woman asked me why I was using DPN, and why I didn’t use magic loop? What was this magic loop of what she spoke? She didn’t have knitting with her, so she couldn’t show me, but I was completely intrigued.
When I got home, I started researching the process, but I kept finding the “real” magic loop – which is two at a time cuff down on one needle, which just looked incredibly fussy to set up. I then came across two small circs for socks. I tried that, but that was simply a mess of needles all over the place. Now that I’m a much more experienced knitter, that two circs thing makes total sense, but at the time, it was more of a mess than DPN. Finally, I found a tutorial online of magic loop with one sock at a time. And I was hooked. Forget those silly DPN and all the laddering problems that went along with them.
I knit on magic loop, sometimes single socks, sometimes TaaT, and then I learned about toe-up socks. Two at a time toe up were my go-to. I was pretty quick with them, had no problem with the toes, and used any type of needle I had – steel, carbon and wood. Then that darn 9” circ appeared in my life.
I can’t remember where I first saw the 9” circ in use. I don’t have many in-person knitting friends, so it was probably on a podcast or a Rav board or something. I HAD to try it. Now THIS was the greatest thing EVER for knitting socks – with a caveat. One great thing about knitting TaaT socks on magic loop is that they are the same. If you mess up a pattern on one, you probably messed it up in the same place on the other. They are the same length. The only thing that is not done simultaneously on both are the heels. But close enough, right? 9” circs meant I was going to have to do something differently – either socks in tandem (aw hell no), count (um, I always for get the number 15 when counting, so that’s out), or – wait for it – measuring the length of my socks. I went with the latter. I’ve learned my personal sock formula by heart. 64 stitches on a US0, knit 7.5 inches for the foot, FLK heel, knit until I’m bored and add a huge 2 – 3” of cuff. Bored tends to mean about the length of the foot when folded in half, and then the long cuff. Done, done and done. I can basically knit socks in my sleep.
There’s a hitch – I have complete shiny object syndrome. I love something NEW. I always like to try new things. And last autumn, Addi did me in with their new Flexi-flip needles. As I’ve made clear, I LOVE my 9” circs. But it felt like EVERYONE was saying how COOL these new needles were. I HAD TO HAVE THEM. Also, they were sold out everywhere, so they must be AMAZING! And they are pretty cool. But you know what they really are? An update on the DPN. I cast on with them a couple of weeks ago. Meh. They are easier to deal with than an extra DPN or two, but they still require stich shifting, and not dropping the working needle. I don’t see the laddering that I had with DPN, but that could also be the fact that I have a LOT more experience now. I’m just about 3” into my first sock with them, and I LOVE the fabric. It’s simply perfect. This is the reason I will make the entire pair on these needles. I don’t want to lose the tight but flexible fabric I have created. I’m not sure if I’d get the same thing on a 9” circ, or even the 8” circs that Addi makes, so I will stick with these. I’ll stretch my comfort zone, and master another skill. As a process knitter, I guess that’s what it’s all about, right? That said, I will never make the Man socks on these things. That’s way too much of a labor of love in my book.